Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 08, 2010
Autism Speaks presents the top ten autism research findings of 2009
Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization has released its annual list of the 10 most significant research achievements to have impacted autism during the previous year, documenting progress towards the discovery of the causes and treatment for autism spectrum disorders.

New study examines the impact on children of food product placements in the movies
New research from the Hood Center for Children and Families at Dartmouth Medical School for the first time sheds light on the significant potential negative impact that food product placements in the movies could be having on children.

UB geographers help map devastation in Haiti
In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, University at Buffalo geography students are participating in a global effort to enhance the international response and recovery effort by helping to assess damage, using images hosted by Google Earth and the Virtual Disaster Viewer, which shares imagery of disasters from various sources.

Scientist explore future of high-energy physics
A collaboration between the University of Chicago and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory aims to improve the efficiency of superconducting radio frequency cavities made of niobium to accelerate beams of subatomic particles in the next generation of high-energy physics experiments.

Brown biologist solves mystery of tropical grasses' origin
Brown University biologist Erika Edwards and a colleague have found that rainfall, not temperature, was the primary trigger for the evolutionary beginnings of C4 tropical grasses.

Neighborhood socioeconomic status and diabetes
Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found a direct link between neighborhood socioeconomic status and risk for type 2 diabetes in African American women.

Marijuana ineffective as an Alzheimer's treatment: UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health research
The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

NTU wins three out of five inaugural Environment Technology and Research Programme grants
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has won three out of the five inaugural Environment and Technology Research Programme grants awarded by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

One-third of antimalarial medicines sampled in 3 African nations found to be substandard
The first results from a large-scale study of key antimalarial medicines in ten Sub-Saharan African countries reveal that a high percentage of medicines circulating on national markets are of substandard quality and thus may contribute to the growth of drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent form of malaria.

Researchers map all the fragile sites of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae's genome
Dr. François Robert, a researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, in collaboration with the team of Dr.

Perfectly shaped solid components
When metals are shaped, the materials they are made of are often damaged in the process.

New research report of the Max-Delbrück Center published
The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany, has published its new research report.

Marker of Ewing sarcoma: Potential new drug target?
Ewing sarcoma (EWS) is a bone tumor that affects children and young adults.

UC Davis study confirms link between advanced maternal age and autism
Advanced maternal age is linked to a significantly elevated risk of having a child with autism, regardless of the father's age, according to an exhaustive study of all births in California during the 1990s by UC Davis Health System researchers.

URI researcher calls for global effort to monitor marine pollutants
A researcher who studies chemical pollutants in the marine environment has called on colleagues around the world to establish a global monitoring network to verify that the chemicals banned by the United Nations in 2003 are no longer in use.

Study examines course and treatment of unexplained chest pain
Fewer than half of individuals who have

Soft drink consumption may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
Increased sugar intake may stimulate tumor growth through effects of insulin.

Study: Cell-phone bans while driving have more impact in dense, urban areas
A new study analyzing the impact of hand-held cell phone legislation on driving safety concludes that usage-ban laws had more of an impact in densely populated urban areas with a higher number of licensed drivers than in rural areas where there are fewer licensed drivers, according to a University of Illinois researcher.

Babies wise to what we really mean: York University study
Researchers in York University's Faculty of Health have uncovered evidence that six-month-old babies can comprehend our intentions.

UAB research warns of risks of low potassium in heart failure patients with chronic kidney disease
New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) says low potassium levels produce an increased risk of death or hospitalization in patients with heart failure and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Research reveals link between beer and bone health
A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density.

Mediterranean diet may lower risk of brain damage that causes thinking problems
A Mediterranean diet may help people avoid the small areas of brain damage that can lead to problems with thinking and memory, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10-17, 2010.

Glaucoma medications may be associated with reduced risk of death over 4-year period
Glaucoma patients who take medication for the condition appear to have a reduced likelihood of death, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Medication appears well-tolerated, beneficial in Huntington's disease patients
A medication previously studied in patients with Alzheimer's disease (latrepirdine) appears well tolerated and may improve thinking, learning and memory skills among individuals with Huntington's disease, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Pay-for-performance in healthcare
Practice popular among care providers may not be the most beneficial for patient.

High-altitude climbs may cause corneal swelling, but do not appear to affect vision
Swelling commonly occurs in the corneas of mountain climbers, but does not appear to affect vision at altitudes of up to 6,300 meters (about 20,670 feet), according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Incidence of cerebral palsy on rise in US
Cerebral palsy (CP) has increased in infants born prematurely in the United States, according to data presented by researchers from Loyola University Health System (LUHS).

Financial hardship contributes to diagnosis anxiety
Women with medium or low levels of income are more susceptible to anxiety and depression after ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis.

Morality research sheds light on the origins of religion
The details surrounding the emergence and evolution of religion have not been clearly established and remain a source of much debate among scholars.

A study reveals how respiratory tubes and capillaries form
Scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and CSIC report on the formation of the small-diameter respiratory tubes of the fly Drosophila, a process that resembles the development of the finest blood vessels, the capillaries, in mammals.

Method of the future uses single-cell imaging to identify gene interactions
Cellular imaging offers a wealth of data about how cells respond to stimuli, but harnessing this technique to study biological systems is a daunting challenge.

Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
Reptiles are bred in captivity primarily for their skins, but some restaurants and population groups also want them for their meat.

Hand-grip strength associated with poor survival
Poor or declining hand-grip strength in the oldest old is associated with poor survival and may be used as a tool to assess mortality, found an article in CMAJ.

Metabolite common among cancers
A study published online on Feb. 8 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine reports that several distinct mutations found in a subset of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia result in excess production of the same metabolite.

Millimeter-scale, energy-harvesting sensor system developed
A 9 cubic millimeter solar-powered sensor system developed at the University of Michigan is the smallest that can harvest energy from its surroundings to operate nearly perpetually.

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 8, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

Patients 'unafraid' to gamble highlight role of amygdala in decision-making
Two patients with rare lesions to the brain have provided direct of evidence of how we make decisions -- and what makes us dislike the thought of losing money.

Extra large carbon
The nucleus of one form of carbon is much larger and more stable than expected.

Caltech neuroscientists discover brain area responsible for fear of losing money
Neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology and their colleagues have tied the human aversion to losing money to a specific structure in the brain -- the amygdala.

Will earlier springs throw nature out of step?
The recent trend towards earlier UK springs and summers has been accelerating, according to a study published today in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

Chocoholic mice fear no pain
Ever get a buzz from eating chocolate? A study published in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience has shown that chocolate-craving mice are ready to tolerate electric shocks to get their fix.

Hand has role in how we see objects in space, say Hebrew University researchers
We know exactly where an object is when we say it is

Few women take tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer
Less than a quarter of one percent of women took tamoxifen in 2000 and 2005 to prevent breast cancer.

Soft drinks may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
Consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly two-fold compared with individuals who did not consume soft drinks, according to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Anorexics found to have excess fat-- in their bone marrow
Researchers at Chidlren's Hopsital Boston have found that girls with anorexia, despite being emaciated, have strikingly high levels of fat in their bone marrow.

Hypertension may predict dementia in older adults with certain cognitive deficits
High blood pressure appears to predict the progression to dementia in older adults with impaired executive functions (ability to organize thoughts and make decisions) but not in those with memory dysfunction, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Enhancing arrest of cell growth to treat cancer in mice
New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has identified a new type of cellular senescence (i.e., irreversible arrest of cell growth) and determined a way to enhance it to suppress prostate tumor development and growth in mice.

Medicare reimbursement change meant to save money has opposite effect
Increased Medicare payments to physicians for outpatient surgeries for bladder cancer have led to a dramatic rise in the number of these procedures being performed and an overall increase in cost to the health care system.

Antiretroviral therapy associated with increase in pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa
In PLoS Medicine this week a study conducted in a multi-country HIV treatment program in sub-Saharan Africa has found that pregnancy rates increase in HIV-infected women after they start antiretroviral therapy.

Popular antidepressant blocks the beneficial effects of tamoxifen in breast cancer
Women with breast cancer who take the antidepressant paroxetine at the same time as tamoxifen are at an increased risk of death, concludes a study published on today.

Scripps research team reveals how an old drug could have a new use for treating river blindness
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered a potential new use for the drug closantel, currently the standard treatment for sheep and cattle infected with liver fluke.

Hebrew U. researcher creates 'boutique' fish farms to combat Lake Victoria's depleted fish supplies
In a unique project to combat depleted fish supplies in Lake Victoria, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Makerere University in Kampala, have established 'boutique' fish farms in small villages around the Lake's shore in Uganda.

Study reveals new details on the dangers of third-hand smoke
Nicotine in third-hand smoke, the residue from tobacco smoke that clings to virtually all surfaces long after a cigarette has been extinguished, reacts with the common indoor air pollutant nitrous acid to produce dangerous carcinogens.

Study challenges bird-from-dinosaur theory of evolution - was it the other way around?
A new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides yet more evidence that birds did not descend from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs, experts say, and continues to challenge decades of accepted theories about the evolution of flight.

TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
A fictional television drama may be more effective in persuading young women to use birth control than a news-format program on the same issue, according to a new study.

'Revolutionary' water treatment units on their way to Afghanistan
The US army takes delivery of its first waste-water treatment units for Afhganistan, technology that 'would be immensely useful in Haiti right now.'

Modeling Toxoplasma focus of workshop
The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) is now accepting applications for its Investigative Workshop, Modeling Toxoplasma gondii, to be held May 13-15, 2010, at NIMBioS on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) campus.

UC Riverside licenses technology to OlFactor Laboratories Inc.
OlFactor Laboratories Inc., a majority owned subsidiary of Avisio Inc., acquired an exclusive license to patented technology from the University of California, Riverside.

Exposure to secondhand smoke among children in England has declined since 1996
The most comprehensive study to date of secondhand smoke exposure among children in England is published today in the journal Addiction.

Book questions successes of welfare reform in Oregon
Welfare reform in the 1990s in Oregon failed to help breadwinners rise above low-wage jobs, leaving needy residents struggling to find child care and housing, and keeping them relying on state supports, say University of Oregon researchers in

Dana-Farber and Sanford-Burnham Institute license flu-targeting antibodies to Genentech and Roche
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have signed a license agreement with Genentech, a wholly owned member of the Roche group, and Roche, that grants the companies exclusive rights to manufacture, develop and market human monoclonal antibodies to treat and protect against group 1 influenza viruses.

Researchers reveal 3-D structure of bullet-shaped virus with potential to fight cancer, HIV
A recent UCLA study demonstrates that with advanced imaging technique, the vesicular stomatitis virus can be modified to serve as an anti-cancer agent because it displays high selectivity in killing cancer cells while sparing normal cells.

Center for Science Writings presents: "Are We Born to Wage War?"
The Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology will present the talk,

Herbal medicines can be lethal, pathologist warns
A University of Adelaide forensic pathologist has sounded a worldwide warning of the potential lethal dangers of herbal medicines if taken in large quantities, injected, or combined with prescription drugs.

New CATCH rule to determine need for CT scans in children with minor head injury
A new tool may help standardize the use of computed tomography (CT scans) in children with minor head injury and help reduce the number of scans, according to a new study in CMAJ.

Electric cars are going places in the Harz region
The Harz region is banking on electric cars. Electric cars will soon be rolling through Quedlinburg, Werningerode and other cities in the region.

New international satellite observations help assess future earthquake risk in Haiti
Analyzing images captured using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) by Japan's ALOS satellite before and just after Haiti's earthquake on Jan.

A potent suppressor of endometrial cancer is revealed
Treatment of endometrial cancer has not advanced significantly in 30 years and there are no screening tests to promote early detection.

Usual care often not consistent with clinical guidelines for low back pain
Australian general practitioners often treat patients with low back pain in a manner that does not appear to match the care endorsed by international clinical guidelines, according to a report in the Feb.

Underdogs have more motivation? Not so fast, study says
Members of a group or team will work harder when they're competing against a group with lower status than when pitted against a more highly ranked group, according to a new study.

Nonhospitalized patients with active inflammatory bowel disease are 16 times more likely to suffer a blood clot than the general population
Nonhospitalized patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are 16 times more likely to suffer a blood clot (venous thromboembolism) than the nonhospitalized general population.

Restore ecology to prevent rice pest outbreaks in Thailand
Devastating outbreaks of brown planthoppers in Thailand's rice crop can be prevented if an eco-friendly approach to pest management is adopted, according to the International Rice Research Institute.

Animals cope with climate change at the dinner table
Professor Yoram Yom-Tov of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology has been measuring the evolving body sizes of birds and animals in areas where climate change is most extreme.

Flower power can still calm the masses
Feeling stressed? Try chamomile! This 'traditional' remedy has been around for years, but how much truth is there behind this old wives' tale?

Phone app providing real-time statistics on physical activity around the world
An iPhone application created by University of Houston researchers is providing first-of-its-kind real-time statistics of physical activity around the world.

Mice shed new light on causes of childhood deafness
Mice with a genetic change that causes progressive hearing loss in children, also have hearing loss because sound waves are not processed properly.

Childhood obesity: It's not the amount of TV, it's the number of junk food commercials
A new UCLA study published in the American Journal of Public Health finds that the association between television viewing and obesity is directly related to children's exposure to commercials that advertise unhealthy foods.

Gadgets not related to teenagers' brain pain
Use of most electronic media is not associated with headaches, at least not in adolescents.

Drug shows promise for Huntington's disease
An early stage clinical trial of the experimental drug dimebon (latrepirdine) in people with Huntington's disease appears to be safe and may improve cognition.

Lower detection of prostate cancer with PSA screening in US than in a European randomized trial
Fewer prostate cancers were detected by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in the US than in a European randomized trial because of lower screening sensitivity, according to a new brief communication published online Feb.

60th Annual British Microcirculation Society Meeting
Delegates from all over the world will attend the 60th Annual British Microcirculation Society Meeting (ABMSM), which is to be held at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK, on 19th and 20th April this year.

Nicotine replacement therapy is over-promoted since most ex-smokers quit unassisted
Health authorities should emphasize the positive message that the most successful method used by most ex-smokers is unassisted cessation, despite the promotion of cessation drugs by pharmaceutical companies and many tobacco control advocates.

Research identifies gene with likely role in premenstrual disorder
Some women are especially sensitive to the natural flux of hormones in the menstrual cycle.

Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
The incidence of advanced breast cancer diagnosis among black women remained 30 percent to 90 percent higher compared to white women between 1992 and 2004, according to new findings by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

New era of pain drugs advanced by Barrow researcher
Research led by a scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St.

Family meals, adequate sleep and limited TV may lower childhood obesity
A new national study suggests that preschool-aged children are likely to have a lower risk for obesity if they regularly engage in one or more of three specific household routines: eating dinner as a family, getting adequate sleep and limiting their weekday television viewing time.

MSU launches first anti-counterfeiting research program
Michigan State University has launched the nation's first comprehensive research and training program designed to address product counterfeiting-- which the FBI has called 'the crime of the 21st century.'

The private sale of drugs in public hospitals
Governments are under increasing pressure to provide access to expensive new drugs.

More smokers than non-smokers accept HPV vaccination for their daughters
A parent's existing health habits or behaviors, like cigarette smoking, may influence the likelihood that they will have their daughters vaccinated against HPV.

Depressed people feel more gray than blue
People with anxiety and depression are most likely to use a shade of gray to represent their mental state. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to